I read this book as part of the 2017 European Reading Challenge.

Push Not The River*, by James Conroyd Martin

(The Polish Trilogy, Book 1)

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Push Not The River is the first book in The Poland Trilogy.  This novel is based upon a real diary of a Polish countess, Anna Berezowska, who lived through the turbulent rise and fall of the Third of May Constitution, 1791 – 1794.  In addition of first hand accounts of the political changes attempted in Poland during that time, Anna’s story is also a love story.

The ruling classes of Poland are divided in how to respond to the libertarian ideas the French Revolution has unleashed.  Many want to give more freedoms to the lower classes through the Third of May Constitution, and many more believe that tighter restrictions are in order.  Combine those opposing forces with a weak King and the Empress Catherine of Russia as an acquisitive neighbor, and war is inevitable.

I enjoyed learning about the customs of the Polish people, both the aristocracy and the lower classes, through Anna’s eyes, and I look forward to reading the rest of her story in Against A Crimson Sky and The Warsaw Conspiracy.